Belgrade, March 09, 2012
SERBIA - ITALY
THOUSANDS OF ITALIAN COMPANIES EXPECTED IN SERBIA
BELGRADE, March 08 (Tanjug) - Serbian President Boris Tadic said on Thursday he expected the strategic partnership with Italy to result in the arrival of thousands of Italian companies in Serbia, as well as a continuation of Italy's support for Serbia's EU integration.
He told a news conference during a summit between Serbia and Italy the two countries' strategic partnership had already resulted in balancing out the trade between them, but that the possibilities for improving the economic cooperation were unimaginable.
"After the strategic partnership, more than 400 Italian companies have come to Serbia. We expect thousands," he stated, adding that the two delegations also discussed numerous projects, mostly related to energy and transport.
He mentioned the steel, mining, agriculture, pharmaceutical, textile and footwear industries as potentially interesting areas of cooperation.
Serbia's transport systems have bloomed, and Italy will also benefit from that, since its shortest route to Turkey and the Middle East goes through Serbia, he pointed out.
The two delegations also talked about a possible cooperation in constructing the road corridors 10 and 11 and modernizing Serbia's railway network.
"Corridors 10 and 11 practically form a strategic triangle connecting Italy to Serbia, and so Serbia becomes of central importance to Italy," Tadic noted.
The completion of those roads, built jointly by Serbian and Italian companies, could create in this decade an extraordinary environment for the development of economy and benefits for the people, he remarked.
Tadic also listed a number of energy projects where Serbia is already working with Italian companies or intending to establish such a cooperation. He stressed that apart from being a producer of electrical power, Serbia will also be important for Italy as a significant transport hub for electricity. The start of Fiat 500L production in Kragujevac symbolically complements the decades long tradition of the two countries' industrial cooperation, Tadic concluded.
MONTI: SERBIA DESERVES CANDIDATE STATUS
BELGRADE, March 08 (Tanjug) - Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti stated Thursday that Serbia has deserved the EU candidate status, and that the efforts that the country made in order to fulfill all EU preconditions set a good example.
Speaking about the date for the beginning of the accession talks, Monti underlined that this is a very important phase, after which nothing will be the same.
Italy wants to back Serbia on that pathway, and it wants Europe to view Serbia as politically and economically mature for such a step, Monti said.
He noted that the two countries have different stands in terms of the Kosovo issue, which should be respected, but it is important that there is good will towards seeking a solution, which was also confirmed by Serbian President Boris Tadic at a press conference of the Serbia Italy Summit.
TADIC: WE WANT TO RESOLVE KIM ISSUE, NOT FREEZE IT
BELGRADE, March 08 (Tanjug) - Serbian President Boris Tadic stated Thursday that Serbia wants to resolve the issue of Kosovo Metohija (KiM), rather than freeze it.
He said that there are many modes in which the problem could be resolved, adding that it is only in terms of the Kosovo issue that Serbia does not see eye to eye with Italy.
"We disagree with Italy only in terms of the Kosovo issue, but I am grateful for the country's position which is not rigid, but directed at resolution of problems rather than freezing of the conflict," Tadic said at a press conference at the Serbia Italy Summit.
TADIC HOPES TO GET DATE BY YEAR'S END
BELGRADE, March 08 (Tanjug) - Serbian President Boris Tadic said on Thursday that he believes that Serbia will get the date for commencement of accession talks by the year's end, adding that he also hopes that Italy will back Serbia on that road.
"I believe that Italy will support Serbia in obtaining the date of accession talks, and we expect that will happen by the end of 2012," Tadic said at a press conference at the second summit Serbia Italy.
Monti: Serbia can expect EU talks by end of year
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said that it was realistic to expect that Serbia could get the date for the start of accession talks with the European Union by the end of the current year. If Belgrade continues to be as committed as they have been so far, the expectations of President (of Serbia Boris) Tadic that Serbia could get the date for the start of EU accession negotiations by the end of the year are quite reasonable, said Monti.
SERBIA CAN COUNT ON ITALY'S STRONG SUPPORT, MONTI SAID.
BELGRADE, March 08 (Tanjug) - Monti, heading a delegation of his country at the second Serbia Italy summit in Belgrade, said that Italy would remain with Serbia, strongly supporting the arguments that should lead to Belgrade's rapid European integration.
Serbia belongs to the European family, and we expect it there, Monti said in an interview with Blic, a Belgradebased daily, reiterating that he had welcomed the decision to grant the EU candidate status to Serbia with great satisfaction.
He added that that by getting the candidacy, Serbia had achieved an important goal.
The Italian prime minister believes that the candidacy is the recognition of the efforts that President Tadic has made through implementing the reforms demanded by the European Commission, surrendering the war crimes indictees to the Hague and by Belgrade's reaching important agreements in the dialogue with Pristina.
Asked what the relations between Belgrade and Pristina should look like to ensure Serbia's becoming an EU member, Monti said that Serbia was required to gradually normalize its relations with Kosovo and to make an important contribution to the stability of the region by fostering cooperation with neighboring countries.
The conditions for Serbia's EU membership are the same as for all other countries that want to become part of the European family, and were established in Copenhagen in 1993, said Monti, adding that the Serbian government has done a lot in the field of regional cooperation.
Speaking about the summit between the two countries, Monti pointed out that the summit was taking place at an appropriate moment.
As President Tadic himself said, the entry to the path that leads straight to the EU opens up new perspectives for the development and internationalization of the Serbian society and economy, said Monti, adding that Rome has an active role in these processes, established by a 2009 agreement on strategic partnership between the two countries.
We are entering a new phase here in Belgrade, now getting even closer to each other under the EU banner and through joint development, which is gaining in strength due to the complementarities of our economic systems, said the Italian prime minister.
SERBIA-ITALY BUSINESS AND POLITICAL SUMMIT HELD
BELGRADE, March 08 (Tanjug) - The Serbia Italy Business and Political Summit was held on March 8 in Belgrade with the participation of Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, Serbian President Boris Tadic, Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic and ministers.
Several cooperation agreements were signed at the summit and it was declared that there was great potential for improving economic and European integration cooperation. The issue of Kosovo, which Italy has recognized, was said to be an area of disagreement.
President Tadic said that since 2009, when the first Serbia Italy summit was held, the number of Italian firms in Serbia had increased from 150 to more than 400 and added that he hoped there would be more than 1,000 in the future.
Italian Prime Minister Monti said that bilateral relations and Europe were at the center of the talks, which, he added, were held in an atmosphere of "strategic partnership" and friendship.
Serbian Prime Minister Cvetkovic underscored that Italy was Serbia's third most important foreign trade partner, and that Italy was among the first five countries by volume of investment.
The foreign ministers of the two countries, Vuk Jeremic and Giulio Terzi, signed a Memorandum of Understanding between their two ministries which envisages cooperation in the area of European integration.
Cooperation agreements were also signed by the interior, agriculture and environmental protection ministries. Cooperation between the tax and financial police forces was also agreed, and investment in energy was also discussed.
ITALIANS INTERESTED IN BELGRADEBAR RAILWAY TRACK
BELGRADE, March 08 (Tanjug) - Italian companies are interested in participating in the modernization of the railway track from Belgrade to Bar.
"It is in our interest that we carry out the Belgrade Bar railway track renovation project, important for the transport of FIAT cars manufactured in Kragujevac," said Rosario Morelli, the president of Armafer, reports the Italian agency Nova.
That company is one of the founders of the Italian Serbian Business Council, and the Italian state rail company Italferr is a member of that council.
Morelli in an interview for Nova specified that in talks with partners in Serbia it was established that there was a need for the "radical modernization" of other tracks in Serbia.
He said that on March 8, it seemed most likely that the task of renovating those tracks would go Italian companies.
"Serbia is at the center of the infrastructure envisaged for the Balkans and Eastern Europe. There are very positive opportunities, and if the European Union's intentions regarding this country are how we understand them, then there will be more very interesting opportunities," said the businessman.
MESSAGE FROM KOPAONIK REFORMS WITHOUT DELAY
KOPAONIK, March 08 (Tanjug) - The 19th Business Forum concluded in Kopaonik on Thursday, and it was held at a time when Serbia is still suffering the effects of the economic crisis, and the 2012 anticipated growth totals 0.5 per cent, but the country's EU candidate status opens new perspectives.
According to the organizers, the forum gathered over 90 panelists and 500 participants and it represents the continuation of the previous forum during which officials concluded that the country needs a new growth model based on production and imports.
The forum organizers, the Association of Economists of Serbia (SES) and the Association of Corporate Directors of Serbia, should present the document entitled 'Kopaonik Consensus' next week which they believe should be incorporated into the new government' policy.
SES member Ana Trbovic pointed out that during the forum, economic experts underlined the necessity of structural reforms which should no longer be postponed, while businessmen called for a predictable business environment.
Unless reforms are carried out, including those in public enterprises, healthcare, pension and education systems, the only alternative would be to pose an additional burden on the economy and citizens through value-added tax and other duties, which cannot increase the country's competitiveness, Trbovic said quoting the conclusions reached during the forum.
The 2012 Kopaonik Business Forum entitled 'How to preserve Serbia's future: economic, business and related topics' gathered representatives of the government and political parties, economic experts, representatives of the economy, banking sector and international financial institutions.
JAPANESE GOVERNMENT'S DONATION FOR DISABLED AND THE ELDERLY
BELGRADE, March 08 (Tanjug) - On March 8, the government of Japan donated equipment worth EUR152,084 to the Gerontology Center in Pancevo, and to the Home for the Mentally Disabled in Tutin.
The Japanese ambassador in Belgrade, Toshio Tsunozaki, said after signing the donation contract with the directors of the two institutions in the Serbian government building, that he was confident that this aid would contribute to improving the level of service and conditions for users.
He said that the two institutions were given medical and special equipment, intended for providing care to people with mental disabilities and to the elderly, adding that the Home for the Mentally Disabled in Tutin also received an ambulance vehicle.
Tsunozaki said that, since 1999, 138 projects were carried out within Japan's program of donations for the basic needs of the population in Serbia, to a total value of around EUR7.7 million.
He stressed that Japan would continue to support welfare protection projects, despite the difficult situation in his country, caused by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March last year.
SERBIA - K&M
ONE YEAR OF BELGRADE-PRISTINA DIALOGUE
BELGRADE, March 08 (Tanjug) - A year has passed since the start of the technical dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.
The first round of dialogue was held March 7 and 8, 2011 in Brussels, where the negotiating teams were headed by Borislav Stefanovic and Edita Tahiri, and the talks were facilitated by the EU.
The agenda for the meeting included the cadaster, air transport, civil registries and customs stamps. Stefanovic said progress was made on the issues of the cadaster, air transport, civil registries and telecommunications.
The next meeting took place March 28. After the second round, Stefanovic and Tahiri said some progress was made on the issue of electric energy supply.
The main topic of the April 15 meeting was freedom of movement. The office of the EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said in a statement that the teams discussed personal and travel documents, car insurance, driver's licenses and license plates.
The fourth round of the technical dialogue took place May 17 and 18. The meeting was a complete failure, and heads of the negotiating teams expressed regret that agreement was not reached on any of the open issues.
The fifth round of talks started July 2, when agreement was reached on freedom of movement for citizens and exchange of civil registries with the Kosovo authorities.
The sixth round, on September 2, brought an agreement on the customs stamp and the cadaster. The parties agreed that the stamp would bear the name "Customs of Kosovo" without any symbols of Kosovo's statehood.
The seventh round, scheduled for September 27, was not held due to incidents in northern Kosovo that day, KFOR troops used tear gas and shock bombs against Serbs at the Jarinje checkpoint. Stefanovic said the only topic of the trilateral talks with EU and U.S. representatives in Brussels was the situation at the Brnjak and Jarinje administrative crossing points.
This round was finally held on November 21 and 22, and agreement was reached on recognition of university degrees.
The eight round of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue started November 30 and ended December 1, without an agreement on administrative crossings and regional representation of Pristina. Late on December 2, with EU facilitation, the two delegations reached agreement on integrated management for crossing points.
On February 24, 2012, at the end of a marathon ninth round of talks, the teams of Belgrade and Pristina agreed that Kosovo will be represented at regional meetings with the denomination Kosovo* and a footnote which will read: "This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence." Pristina's demand that the footnote also reference the Declaration of Independence was not accepted.
The parties also concluded a technical protocol on the implementation of the agreement on integrated management for crossing points, reached on December 2.
IVANOVIC: ELECTIONS IN KOSOVO DEPEND ON CONDITIONS
BELGRADE, March 08 (Tanjug) - Secretary of State in the Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija Oliver Ivanovic said Thursday that Serbia must take a decision on the holding of elections in Kosovo and Metohija, bearing in mind its Constitution and UN SC Resolution 1244. However, the adoption of that decision depends on the technical possibility of implementing it south of the Ibar River, he said.
I respect the opinion of all the ambassadors, particularly those of influential countries, but a decision on the elections must be taken by Serbia taking everything into account the Constitution and the obligations that the government has under Resolution 1244, Ivanovic told B 92 TV.
He was asked to comment on the statement of U.S. Ambassador Mary Warlick that the holding of elections in Kosovo would not be good.
He said that the decision on holding elections in Kosovo depend on technical possibilities for implementing them south of Ibar River.
In the north, this has not been a problem so far, Ivanovic said.
I am afraid that we will face up to a very repressive behavior by the Kosovo Albanians and police, who would seek to prevent any organization of elections, he said.
Asked whether UNMIK would consent to the holding of elections, Ivanovic said that he doubted that it would happen.